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Direct human impacts on mechanical denudation in an arctic-oceanic periglacial environment in northern Swedish Lapland (Abisko mountain area)
Responsible organisation
2005 (English)In: Geomorphology in Environmental Application: (MOUNTAIN GEOMORPHOLOGY, MASS MOVEMENTS, FLUVIAL GEOMORPHOLOGY), GEBRUDER BORNTRAEGER , 2005, Vol. 138, 81-100 p.Conference paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

In the Latnjavagge drainage basin (9 km(2); 950 m - 1440 m a.s.l.; 68 degrees 20’N, 18 degrees 30’E), an arctic-oceanic periglacial environment in the mountain area of northernmost Swedish Lapland, present-day direct human impacts on mechanical denudation have been investigated. The Latnjavagge drainage basin is covered by snow for most of the year. The annual mean temperature is -2.3 degrees C (1993-2001) and the mean annual precipitation is 818 mm (1990-2001). Snow melt starts normally in the end of May. The area belongs to the mid-alpine zone with a continuous vegetation cover comprising dwarfshrub heaths and alpine meadows and bogs. At the slope systems, rockfalls, boulder falls, slushflows, avalanches, debris flows and slides, solifluction, creep processes, deflation and slope wash cause mechanical denudation. Most of the total annual sediment load in the streams and creeks is transported within a few days during snowmelt generated runoff peaks. Ice patches and fields, channel debris pavements mobilized during peak discharges and exposing fines, and material mobilized by slushflows are the main natural sources for solid load. Due to the very stable vegetation cover and closed rhizosphere in the area, larger rainfall events are of limited importance for suspended sediment transport. The intensities of mechanical denudation and fluvial sediment transport are very low. Direct human impacts in the area are (1) extensive reindeer husbandry, (2) hiking tourism and (3) field research (at the Latnjajaure Field Station LFS). Direct human impacts have the highest intensity injuly. The gentle, W-facing valley slope is much more affected by direct human impacts than other areas within the drainage basin. The importance of the vegetation cover for the stabilization of the slope systems is underlined. Local damages of the vegetation cover and local stress to the system due to direct human impacts cause locally significantly higher mechanical fluvial denudation. The areas showing a significant stress to the natural vegetation cover come to less than 5% of the total catchment area. Altogether, the present-day direct human impact on the natural mechanical denudation rate of the Latnjavagge drainage basin is small. The numbers of reindeers, tourists and scientists/students at LFS are in a scale that does not cause larger changes of the natural denudative geomorphological processes operating in this periglacial environment.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
GEBRUDER BORNTRAEGER , 2005. Vol. 138, 81-100 p.
Series
ZEITSCHRIFT FUR GEOMORPHOLOGIE SUPPLEMENT SERIES
National Category
Natural Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:polar:diva-3644OAI: oai:DiVA.org:polar-3644DiVA: diva2:1103479
Conference
54th German Conference of Geographer, Bern, GERMANY, SEP 28-OCT 04, 2003
Available from: 2017-05-30 Created: 2017-05-30 Last updated: 2017-05-30

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